Weight gainers are nutritional supplements that can help you gain weight and add muscle. Weight gainers usually come in the form of powdered protein that can be mixed with water, milk or juice. If you are attempting to gain muscle, you must increase your overall caloric intake and consume adequate amounts of protein.
How It Works
One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so adding an additional 500 calories per day to your diet can help you to gain a pound per week -- pounds you can convert into muscle. Weight gainers help you achieve this by supplementing your current diet with high concentrations of protein, carbohydrates and fat. However, weight gainers are supplements and must be an additional part of your diet and not your primary source of calories and protein.
Directions on weight gainer packages do not take into account a person's age, sex, weight, height, diet, activity level or goals. Therefore, you must monitor your intake based on those factors. Most weight gainers instruct buyers to consume the product multiple times per day in large doses. Instead of following these instructions, consult your primary physician for recommendations on taking weight gainers as supplements.
Many protein shakes sold in health food stores have a reputation for tasting bad, which is why many weight gainers on the market contain a lot of sugar. Weight gainers have their place in your muscle-gaining arsenal, but do the proper research to find the most effective one. Quality over quantity is fundamental, so check the nutritional fact labels before purchasing to make sure the product contains adequate protein and to avoid consuming too much sugar.
Although building muscle is nearly impossible without protein, ingesting excessive amounts from protein powders over a long period can cause bones to lose calcium. Lou Schuler, author of "The Testosterone Advantage Plan," says that's because unlike purified protein shakes, proteins found in actual food contains the mineral phosphorus, which reduces the amount of calcium excreted in your urine. Furthermore, high protein diets dehydrate the body, so drink plenty of water if you take protein supplements.
How Much Protein?
Most weight gainers contain an extremely high amount of protein -- approximately 30 to 60 g per serving. In a July 2010 Consumer Reports study, licensed nutritionist Kathleen Laquale says, "The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour, and any excess that is not burned for energy is converted to fat or excreted." It is best to not rely on one particular source of protein, so add variety and consume everything that you do in moderation for quality gains.